Gotcha Day

Yeah. I hate it. I mean no offense to my friends who use the term, but as an adult adoptee who has gone through the adoptee fog (is still emerging), I have to say I find it tactless, insensitive, childish, and rude. It makes me, personally, feel like I’m a thing that was obtained. Gotten. Purchased. I understand the fun and silliness in it, I do. I get that it’s a nice thing to celebrate. But adoptive parents, listen up; most adoptees see it the way I do when they grow up.

Most adoptees feel all sorts of hard emotions surrounding our birthdays and/or adoption days. For me, it’s the entire summer. Once May hits, I get what I thought was seasonal depression reversed. But it’s not. It’s because I hold onto things for a very long time and I take a very long time to get accustomed to change. I despise change and struggle with it. I have adjustment disorder.

I was born on May 13 and every year, like clockwork, starting from about a week after my birthday through summer until late September, I feel like absolute shit. Depression, anxiety attacks, panic attacks. Randomly dispersed throughout four months.

So, I am not asking you to stop. Some adoptees don’t care about the term at all. Some families throw really sweet adoption day parties, and I completely understand that it’s an important and meaningful day for both parents and children. I am asking you to please, please read books and blogs written by adoptees, join adoption triad facebook groups, listen to adoptee voices, get an adoption-educated therapist, talk to your child, don’t let your own insecurities get in the way of their biological information, and for the love of all that’s holy, don’t lie to them.

*Anne Heffron is the author of You Don’t Look Adopted.

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